Hearts and Minds 1974 Criterion Collection
Released in the United States in March, 1975, Peter Davis' Vietnam War documentary Hearts and Minds boldly probed the depths of a still-open wound. The war had barely ended, and the details of the Paris Agreement, which ultimately proved useless, were still being debated. When the movie picked up an Oscar a month later, there was protest from the Hollywood conservative elite, among them the evening's co-host Bob Hope. Many years later, the film manages to evoke a similar degree of pain, even if it is only the pain of recall. Time has eroded its topical urgency, yet Hearts and Minds still resonates as a cautionary tale against unquestioned military might abroad and virulent patriotism at home. The documentary is clearly anti-war in both tone and content, but Davis studiously avoids hitting home any single point, preferring to argue his case through an oblique accretion of testimony and an almost poetic disregard for narrative cohesion. Free-associative in its approach to an already nebulous political dilemma, Hearts and Minds refuses to impose clarity on what was and for many still is the most inexplicable period of recent American history.

Director: Peter Davis
Country: USA
Genre: Documentary, War


• Commentary - this audio commentary by director Peter Davis was recorded exclusively for Criterion in 2001. It first appeared on the R1 DVD release of Hearts and Minds.

• Outtakes - presented here is footage which was shot by director Peter Davis and his colleagues but was not used in Hearts in Minds. In English, not subtitled.

1. Introduction - in text-format.

2. Philippe Devillers - French political scientist, historian, and journalist Philippe Devillers was a war correspondent for Le monde during the First Indochina War. In this archival video piece, Philippe Devillers recalls his initial impressions of the French colonialists and the Vietnamese revolutionaries, and discusses the French and American involvement in the Indochina and Vietnam wars. (11 min)

3. George Ball - George Ball was named undersecretary of state during John F. Kennedy's presidency. He also held the same position in Lyndon B. Johnson's administration. Presented here are clips from archival interviews in which George Ball discusses the war in Vietnam and his work for the two presidents. (20 min)

4. Tony Russo - in 1968, Tony Russo and Daniel Ellsberg copied top-secret documents while working at the RAND Corporation, a think tank which was closely associated with U.S. intelligence and counterinteligence agencies. Portions of the documents, which became known as "The Pentagon Papers", were consequently leaked in the New York Times. On December 29, 1971, the two men were charged with conspiracy, theft, misuse of government property, and espionage. After the trial, Tony Russo became an antiwar activist. In this archival video interview, Tony Russo discusses his work in Vietnam after the U.S. started bombing North Vietnam, and explains why he decided to leak the top-secret documents. (35 min)

5. David Brinkley - from 1956 to 1970, broadcast journalist and political commentator David Brinkley cohosted The Huntley-Brinkley Report, with Chet Huntley. Later on, David Brinkley narrated various documentaries and worked as a political commentator at ABC. In this archival video interview, he discusses the Vietnam War and his career. (24 min)

6. General William Westmoreland - General William Westmoreland became the commander of United States forces in Vietnam in 1964. During and after the Vietnam war, he was frequently targeted by antiwar activists. Presented here are excerpts from an archival interview with General William Westmoreland, portions of which are included in Hearts and Minds. (27 min)

7. Walt Rostow - Walt Rostow was an American economist and political theorist who served in the State Department and as a presidential adviser to both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Presented here are excerpts from an archival audio interview with Walt Rostow in which he discusses the U.S. policy during the Vietnam war. (25 min)

8. Quang Nam Funeral - presented here is raw footage (from a funeral ceremony) which was shot in a South Vietnamese village in the province of Quang Nam that had been bombed accidentally by Americans. (6 min)

9. Cong Hoa Hospital - presented here is raw footage which was shot in a South Vietnamese military hospital in Saigon showing badly injured Army of the Republic of Vietnam soldiers. (3 min)

2 x DVD9 | NTSC 16:9 | 01:51:52 | 7.44 Gb + 7.31 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English

BD50 | 1080p AVC | 01:52:01 | 44.2 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English

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